Hood up he slides in the side gate
heads across the playground
slinks past gossips.
He knows all short cuts
how to avoid teachers, how
not to be seen.
Hands deep in pockets, an angry
shadow, he ducks past
the tuck shop. Sweet machines
pull kids like iron filings, but not him.
He has no interest in sugar
or sharing. Head bent,
behind draped curtain of hair
he catches no eyes, makes no contact.
Insulated, isolated in his ‘phones
armoured by his tunes, a singing shadow
he drags his feet, trailing laces,
& wonders what it’s all about.